Black-Eyed Beans with Gari and Plantains

Our fourth recipe comes from Ghana in West Africa and is presented by Theresa Messerer.

You may well be thinking that my name has nothing to do with Africa … but Eric, my partner’s, does. He was born in Togo and grew up in Ghana, and I love his recipes and cuisine.

Fufu is without a doubt the dish that is most typical of West Africa. Fufu is a mash made from warm water and cassava flour that can be served with a variety of sauces. But believe me, mashing fufu to make it nice and smooth and getting just the right balance between water and cassava flour can be hard work without a bit of know-how. I’ve therefore decided to show you a different, but equally delicious dish instead – beans and gari with ripened plantain.

Gari (also spelt “garri”) and beans are pretty much staple foods in West Africa. Gari, obtained from cassava, is used in a wide variety of different ways: fried, boiled, mashed, grated or ground. When my friends ask me what cassava is, I often say that it looks like an African potato. Cassava is also very commonly found and extremely popular in places like Brazil, Mauritius and other parts of Africa.

There must be a thousand variations of this dish and various ways of preparing it and pepping it up with other ingredients.

Here’s my recipe – I hope you enjoy giving it a go too:

  • Portions: 4
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45–60 minutes
  • 2 cups balck-eyed beans
  • 2 plantains (the riper the better)
  • 2 onions
  • 500 ml vegetable oil
  • To taste: gari (cassava semolina)
  • salt

Black-eyed beans are cooked in the same way as rice, with plenty of water and a little salt. If the water boils away too quickly, simply add some more. A lot of water is needed to ensure that the beans turn out nice and soft. Simmer the beans for a total of 45–60 minutes (+/-) until they are soft.

While the beans are cooking, cut the onions into half rings and fry in plenty of vegetable oil. The onions should swim a bit in the oil, which we will be using again later.

Slice the plantains and fry in the vegetable oil until golden brown. It best to use a little more oil here too, so that the plantains stay nice and moist.

Once everything is sizzling and cooked through, serve.

When serving up, Eric is very particular about the order of things: First the beans. Then drizzle some onion and some of the oil used to fry the onions over the beans. This gives the gari a nice crispy texture. To finish off the dish, place the plantains on top.

Bon appétit!

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